Boxing legend and ‘The Greatest’ passed on in the early hours of Saturday, June 4 at the age of 74. We look back at some of Muhammad Ali’s greatest sayings.
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”
“I am the greatest!”
“People don’t realise what they had until it’s gone. Like President Kennedy, nobody like him. Like The Beatles, there will never be anything like them. Like my man, Elvis Presley. I was the Elvis of boxing.”
“I don’t want to fight to be an old man… I’m gonna only fight five or six years, make me two or three million dollars and quit fighting.”
“It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”
“The fact is, I was never too bright in school. I ain’t ashamed of it, though. I mean, how much do school principal’s make a month? I said I was ‘The Greatest’, I never said I was the smartest!”
“I won’t miss fighting – fighting will miss me.”
“I always liked to chase the girls. Parkinson’s stops all that. Now I might have a chance to go to heaven.”
“Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.”
“Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it, and I didn’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name, and I insist people using it when speaking to me and of me.”
“Nobody has to tell me that this is a serious business. I’m not fighting one man. I’m fighting a lot of men, showing a lot of ’em, here is one man they couldn’t defeat, couldn’t conquer. My mission is to bring freedom to 30m black people.”Before Ali’s fight against Jerry Quarry in 1970.
“What’s really hurting me – the name Islam is involved, and Muslim is involved and causing trouble and starting hate and violence. Islam is not a killer religion, Islam means peace. I couldn’t just sit home and watch people label Muslims as the reason for this problem.” In the aftermath of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks.
On The Vietnam War
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”
“Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No Vietcong ever called me nigger.”
“I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.”
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